Tuesday, Sept. 26, 1978
John Paul I Opening Communications (Jack Anderson, UFS)
WASHINGTON — Confidential State Department cables reveal that [the pope is] actively seeking advice from world leaders on social and moral issues…
…State Department officials [have] informed a congressional delegation confidentially: “We believe that (the) Vatican would react favorably to [a] request for [a] private audience by [a] U.S. congressional group to brief the pope” on such sensitive subjects as population control, hunger, health, and family planning.
The Vatican’s cordial attitude, sources told associate Jack Mitchell, did not necessarily mean that the new pope was contemplating any action on these controversial issues. But he was willing to discuss them privately with U.S. experts.
It is a good thing for the pope to hear a wide range of other perspectives, even where the Catholic Faith would prevent full agreement with them.
Another Vatican Leak (John Allen)
The report is also intriguing: This evening, the pope reportedly asked his personal secretary, Fr. John Magee, “Why did they select me [as pope]? There was somebody much better than me. Paul VI had even indicated him as his successor.” Magee did not ask whom he had in mind. But, on another occasion, the pope remarked that the “much better” choice had been sitting across from him during the conclave. According to Vatican records, someone seated directly across from Albino Luciani in the conclave was the Polish Archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Karol Wojtyła.